'The University of Pretoria (UP) is a very compelling place,' says Prof Jim Walsh, a recently appointed Extraordinary Professor in the Department of Business Management of the Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences (EMS), specifically affiliated with the Albert Luthuli Centre for Responsible Leadership at the University of Pretoria (UP). Prof Walsh is an Arthur F Thurnau Professor and the Gerald and Esther Carey Professor of Business Administration at the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan in the USA.
Prof Walsh has visited UP several times. 'I first became involved with the University when I helped to lead the Academy of Management. The Academy and the Gordon Institute of Business Science (GIBS) co-sponsored what turned out to be a wonderful international conference here in 2013. That experience led to other visits to present papers and simply continue conversations with new friends.'
He explains that there are many things to like about UP – the University's high aspirations, the enthusiasm of its staff and PhD students, and the absolute decency of every single person he has met here. He is impressed by UP's commitment to making the world a better place. 'I love the University's dedication to scholarship that makes a difference. I just can't stay away,' he says.
Prof Walsh finds South Africa fascinating. He is attracted to UP because everyone he meets wants to contribute to the country and at the same time engage the world with their questions about and solutions to the unique business challenges and opportunities here. Believing scholars to be people who 'see the general in the specific,' he is eager to learn from anyone who shows that kind of local/global reflex. 'UP is a wonderful place to see how business can serve South Africa and, in so doing, develop ideas that serve the world.' He says he loves UP's slogan, 'Make today matter'.
Prof Walsh has been lecturing in a new Faculty programme for doctoral students in Management Science. Students in Business Management, Human Resource Management, Marketing Management, and Public Management and Administration are taking a series of seminars on theory, research methods, and discipline content over 17 weekends this year. A mix of UP academics and international research leaders like Prof Walsh are leading this effort.
During his visit, he held many research meetings with PhD students and on 8 February he spoke to a group of 35 junior staff members about the promise of engaged scholarship and how best to make a contribution. He also met with senior EMS staff on 15 February to discuss current trends in higher education and, in light of these, to consider how they could grow as teachers and researchers throughout their careers.
Eager to return, Prof Walsh will be back for a two-week visit in the near future. Beyond that, he hopes to spend several months here during his sabbatical in two years' time.